Watching “Take the ball, pass the ball” is as much a reminder of all the success Barcelona has had, as it is of everything wrong with the current structure at the club.
The documentary could have dwelled on the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid, but brushes it away in the first 20 minutes of the 110 minutes run-time. Candid interviews with several members of the club’s hierarchy go into the finer details of Jose Mourinho’s potential candidacy as a Barcelona coach alongside Pep Guardiola, the board’s managerial preference at the time, and the influence of Johan Cruyff in making Pep the first-team coach. There is a brief hint at what sparked the rivalry between the coaches, but the topic is changed quickly to a more deeper understanding of the Barcelona philosophy of football.
Interviews with several key members of Pep’s dominating squad shed a light on the little pieces that make him such a larger-than-life figure in world football. However, some interesting bites from Samuel Eto’o show that the coach didn’t come without his faults.
A majority of the film is dedicated to the coach’s philosophy, tactics, and the club’s journey from mediocrity to being one of the most dominating teams of all time—the arrival of Johan Cruyff and his institutional changes to Barcelona, Frank Rijkaard’s foundation of a winning team and eventually, Pep Guardiola’s revolution of the team’s mentality.
While most of the film is about the nostalgia that fills the players and staff involved at the time, some interviews discussed how Barcelona’s structure and winning philosophy has been dismantled piece-by-piece since the new regime took over, which led to the ugly departure of Pep from the club.
All in all, this film had something for everyone—the lovers, the haters, the optimists, and the pessimists.
A must-watch for all football fans, and anyone in general, who wants to know the secret to success.